- Caroline Simpson chaired the session, and spoke about
"Best Practices in Hiring: Addressing Unconscious Bias."
Her talk was a recap of Abby Stewart's
from the 2011 winter AAS Meeting on unconscious bias,
but it's a message well worth repeating.
The main points of Dr. Simpson's talk were that
- increased diversity leads to increased excellence,
- we all think about the world in terms of schemas that lead to unconscious biases,
- we can fight our unconscious biases by becoming aware of them
- and we should be sure to use objective criteria to evaluate job candidates.
- Andrew West spoke about "Tools for Recruiting a Diverse
Applicant Pool," and his talk focused on recruitment of
under-represented minorities (URMs). Key points from Dr. West's talk were
- unfortunately, there's no magic bullet
- fortunately, most techniques for recruiting URMs help everyone
- the numbers of URMs earning PhDs in astronomy is really small, like <10 data-blogger-escaped-li="" data-blogger-escaped-per="" data-blogger-escaped-year="">the biggest drop off in URMs in physics and astronomy is after the first year in college
- historically black small colleges produce 55% of the BS and BA physics degrees, so establishing relationships with those colleges is a good way to keep URMs in the pipeline
- directly ask people to apply for jobs, and post ads broadly
- Van Dixon spoke about "Recruitment and Retenion of LGBTIQ Astronomers."
In case you are wondering,
LGBTIQ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Questioning.
The main points for making workplaces more friendly to LGBTIQ astronomers
- make an explicit commitment to inclusion in policies
- be aware that benefits such as health insurance for same-sex partners are taxable, which you can offset by "grossing up" wages
- remove discriminatory health insurance exclusions for transgendered people
- make policies friendly to non-traditional families, like including adoption and domestic partnerships in leave benefits
- advertise your inclusive policies
- Caty Pilachowski spoke about "Getting to Family-Friendly
in Your Department." The main point of her talk was that
it's one thing to have a written policy of family-friendliness,
but another to have a family-friendly department culture
that is supportive of work-life balance.
Ways to create a culture of family-friendliness include
- make families visible by recognizing family milestones, including families in department events, and setting up a department family bulletin board
- recognize that families include kids, parents, pets, etc.
- bring your kids and pets to work
- offer help to others in need
- leave visible copies of Status and Spectrum around
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Report from Special Session on Diversity at Austin AAS
Posted by Hannah
The CSWA helped sponsor a Special Session entitled "Increasing Diversity in Your Department" at the 219th AAS Meeting in Austin last week. We had four terrific speakers for this session, and the CSWA will post their slides on our website soon. For now, I'll highlight some key points from their talks.